I went on a crazy rabbit trail with the Lord the other day. About swaddling cloths. Really? Yeah.
Turns out the details matter to God and ultimately to us when He reveals them. I have been deep diving into Garments (which will come later). One thing led to another and the swaddling cloths came into focus where I learned two important distinctions for our Advent meditations.
Speaking of Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem:
“So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths,
and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:6-7
The first idea is specific shepherds surrounding the birth of Jesus were Levitical shepherds. As such, they were charged with overseeing the conditions of lambs so they would be “spotless and without blemish” for the sacrifices in the temple.
According to columnist, Linda Littlefield, “when the mother ewe was preparing to give birth, she was taken to a special birth place, or to the only cave designated, to give birth to the sacrificial Iambs.
This cave was kept sterile and clean for the arrival of newborn sacrificial Iambs. The newborn lamb was immediately wrapped in clean swaddling cloths to protect them and keep them from blemish and danger.”
So when the angels declared: And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger, (Luke 2) these particular type of shepherds understood from these specific instructions that they were looking for the Sacrificial Child.
Using our spiritual imaginations, we see how Jesus came as the perfect lamb and God left clues, if you will, to help us discover the beauty and wonder of our Newborn King.
Now, look at this next beautiful detail.
After Jesus laid down His life, they again laid his body in the tomb (cave) and again wrapped His body in cloths. But the cloths this time are not swaddling cloths related to sacrifices. Instead, these cloths, in variations of the Gospels in Greek, say Jesus was “wrapped in linen cloth.”
Hold on a minute. Linen? Linen is what the saints are dressed in in heaven. Linen robes.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him the glory. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. She was given clothing of fine linen, bright and pure.” For the fine linen she wears is the righteous acts of the saints. Then the angel told me to write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Revelation 19:7-8
Let your spirit connect these beautiful dots.
The swaddling cloths were for God’s only Begotten Son, the perfect lamb to be sacrificed.
The linen cloths were for the Beloved to be the first Resurrected of many brothers and sisters.
I don’t know about you. My heart about comes undone.
The God who is to Come. It was always the plan.
Talk about rejoicing. Amen!
Let your heart worship with this song today.